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High Blood Pressure in Young Adults LIkely to Go Undiagnosed

Students Rate Mental Health Services

A significant percentage of college students continue to smoke tobacco products despite overwhelming evidence of the health hazards incurred.  Although many are sporadic smokers, or prefer to use tobacco products through hookah which studies indicate is even more hazardous), they are at risk for developing nicotine dependency and a life long smoking habit.

The prospective cohort study in Japan gives a clear number of years of life lost as a result of smoking.  If risk of COPD and cancer is not sufficient to dissuade young adults from using cigarettes, perhaps the likelihood of a 15% shorter life span will?

A Third of College Students Smoke

A Prospective Cohort Study on the Impact of Smoking on Mortality and Life Expectancy

This is an excellent reminder during this vaccination season anticipating influenza arriving soon on our campuses:

Teen’s Death Shows How Flu Can Kill in a Flash

Like most modern health care providers, less and less of our time is spent in physical assessment of our patients, and more and more spent with a computer screen and keyboard, looking at imaging studies and lab results.

Some of the old art of physical examination is being lost, so Stanford School of Medicine is working especially hard at training their students in the old art in new ways.

Here is a wonderful resource:  The Stanford 25  –remembering how to examine various parts of the body, using old techniques and new tools.

This is an interesting article this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine about “Inviting Patients to Read Their Doctor’s Notes”

We’ve been doing this for over a year at our University and it is working well, improving communication with our patients, and reducing requests for records when students graduate or need to see their doctor when they are home.

What about your clinic?

This opinion article Valium and the New Normal by Robin Marantz Henig is must reading for all college health professionals and therapists to stimulate discussion among us about what we have done in the past in our prescribing habits and what we continue to do.

We need to be serious in our self-examination of how we respond therapeutically to our student-patients’ challenges and anxieties.   If  “normal” is a prescription-medicated state for over 25% of our patient population (far higher if considering the number on daily synthetic hormones), in addition to those who self-medicate regularly with recreational substances, what are we actually accomplishing in helping prepare students for their lives outside the ivory tower?  That all solutions are found in a bottle of one sort or another?

The sought-for “normal,” in otherwise healthy individuals, has become a quest to quash unpleasant feelings and emotions.  Is that really what we want to accomplish with our patients? Or should we be helping them learn (after all, they are in college to learn) the art of resiliency and coping?

As a wise relative would say to me when I felt I couldn’t handle yet another stress while I was in school:  “this too shall pass.”

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